Kia sold its first car in Britain back in 1991. Less than three decades later, it’s celebrating again, with the sale of the 1 millionth car in the UK.
The original UK Kia was the budget Pride, a rebadged version of an elderly Mazda. The landmark 1 millionth sale shows how things have moved on: it was a Sportage GT-Line, Kia’s upmarket SUV that last year entered the UK top 10 best sellers chart.
Kia dealer Flear and Thompson of Dunfermline had the honour of delivering the 1 millionth British Kia, to Dr. Fergus Duncan. Kia UK president and chief executive Paul Philpott called it “a remarkable milestone.
“The Kia brand started in the UK with sensible, budget-focused vehicles but during the last decade in particular our customer-base has grown on the back of outstanding design, unmatchable quality and the reassurance of our industry-leading seven year warranty.
“I don’t know just when we will reach the 2 million mark, but we are all looking forward to the journey.”
Motoring Research is happy to have a guess on Philpott’s behalf, though: last year, it sold 95,764 cars, an all-time record. Its current rate of sales means the 2 million British sales could be reached by 2030, if not sooner.
It’s quite the contrast from Kia’s first year in Britain. 1991 sales totalled 1,786 Prides (pictured above) and it took the firm 10 years to reach 50,000 sales.
Today, it sells that many cars in just six months.
Kia’s mix has changed significantly since its early days. The Pride was a value car whose spiritual successor is the Picanto – but today, that’s only Kia’s second best-selling model overall in the UK, with 191,926 sales.
By far the most popular Kia in Britain is the Sportage, with sales of almost 242,000 since its launch back in 1995. Within weeks, the firm will be celebrating the quarter-millionth Sportage to be sold in the UK.
From budget brand to family favourite in less than 30 years. That’s certainly something for Kia to take pride in.